Tom Clancy must be the world's number one fan of the USA Military.
And vice versa.
"Airborne" is another in the series of mutual admiration society books written by Tom beginning with Submarine, and progressing on through Fighter Wing, Marine, Armoured Cav and others.
Each one is an in depth look at the men, equipment, training, tactics and history of a segment of the US Armed Services. Tom doesn't give a dry list of statistics, a few cutaway diagrams and photos, no this is hands-on stuff, straight from the people who use the weapons, supplemented by Tom's observations on a guided tour of the facilities and attendance at a training exercise.
I'd give this a top rating, but for the graphics, which aren't up to the standard of earlier books. Many of the photographs, for instance, are literaly the size of a postage stamp.
But that's a minor niggle, and there are some excellent photos, and diagrams.
What comes across very strongly is the awesom esprit de corps of the Airborne. Far more than any other units, Airborne soldiers fight alone without the direct support of other arms, excepting maybe the airforce. But if an airborne force goes into action on the far side of the world, where friendly runways are few and far between, then they are very much on their own until reinforcements win through.
The unique tactics of the airborne units are highlighted. The "LGOP" mentality, where Little Groups Of Parachutists form up and fight through to the objective. The way that subunits are divided up amongst aircraft so that if one aircraft doesn't make it, it doesn't take out an entire platoon or company.
There's more, a lot more, and I particularly liked the historical chapters.